Morrisons is launching a new system in a bid to become the UK’s first zero waste supermarket.
The retail giant hopes to operate a zero waste policy by 2025, either from the store or customers who shop there.
If successful, the “zero waste” store format will be rolled out to all 498 stores across the UK over the next year.
The store is partnering with Nestlé to collect all “hard-to-recycle” soft plastics for the first time in the UK.
All waste collected in stores during the trial period will be recycled in the UK to avoid exporting materials overseas.
It will comprise of soft and hard plastics, cardboard, food waste, green waste, PPE, plus tins, cans and foils.
Colleagues will sort out the zero waste products in the warehouse before being collected by specialist partners for recycling.
Customers can drop off their plastics at new collection points located in the “zero waste” store foyers at Morrisons.
In addition to packaging and product waste, more unsold foods will be offered to customers on a budget at these stores.
Where surplus food arises, Morrisons stores will also work with a range of partners to redistribute it within its communities.
Jamie Winter, Sustainability Procurement Director at Morrisons, said: “We’re not going to reach our ambitious targets through incremental improvements alone. Sometimes you need to take giant steps and we believe that waste is one of those areas.
“We believe that we can, at a stroke, enable these trial stores to move from recycling around 27% of their general waste to over 84% and with a clear line of sight to 100%. We all need to see waste as a resource to be repurposed and reused.
“The technology, creativity and will exists – it’s a question of harnessing the right process for the right type of waste and executing it well. And all waste collected in our stores will be recycled here in the UK – we will not reprocess anything abroad.
“If we’re successful, we’ll roll this zero waste store concept out across the UK as fast as we can.”
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Alison Bramfitt, Group Packaging Manager at Nestlé UK & Ireland, said: “At Nestlé, we’re dedicated to driving a more circular system by reducing our use of virgin plastics by one third, and ensuring all of our packaging is reusable or recyclable by 2025.
“We are committed to providing solutions for recycling hard-to-recycle materials, such as film and coffee pods, so we’re delighted to be part of this initiative.”
Helen Bird, Strategic Technical Manager at WRAP, added: “It’s encouraging to see Morrisons initiating collection of this material to enable people to recycle it ahead of it being collected directly from their homes in years to come.
“We look forward to seeing the results of the trial and hope it’s rolled out across all larger stores in the near future.”